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Forensic Psychology - top-up programme DForenPsy

Course Description


The aim of the top-up programme is to allow postgraduate psychologists already holding a British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited MSc Criminological/Forensic/Investigative Psychology to obtain a doctorate through applying their knowledge to practice with victims or offenders.

These individuals will be eligible to fast track onto the two-year doctorate component of the full DForenPsy course.

Applications for the top-up doctorate are accepted throughout the year with a closing date of 31 March. Our courses start in September each year.

This programme is approved by the Health Professions Council (HPC) and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and confers eligibility to apply for HPC registration and BPS chartered membership respectively.

Those applicants working in a forensic setting may use this setting as a placement, if appropriate.

Course details

During the doctorate component, you will apply your knowledge to practice while on placement in forensic environments. You will experience interventions with children and adults in community and secure settings and develop skills and competency in four core areas:

--conducting psychological applications and interventions
--case studies, research and evaluation
--communicating knowledge to other professionals
--training other professionals in psychological skills and methods

At the end of the course, you will submit a thesis on your research and practice in a specific area of forensic psychology.

Visit the Forensic Psychology - top-up programme DForenPsy page on the University of Nottingham website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Jamie Walton

3420.jpg I first became aware of the Top-Up Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology at the University of Nottingham in 2010, having completed an MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2009. The course appeared to ensure a strong blend of advanced research and specialist clinical practice, ensuring students meet high professional standards conferring both registration with Health and Care Professions Council as a Registered Practitioner Psychologist and Chartered Status with the British Psychological Society. The course certainly fulfilled expectations.

The course provided a highly structured programme of professional training with clearly linked competency criteria and professional practice expectations. Integral to the programme was a focus on breadth of clinical experience with a variety of service user groups in a range of forensic settings. This ensures that Forensic Psychologists in Training possess sufficient clinical skills and familiarity with different organisational demands to work effectively in challenging and changing environments. Sharing experiences with others during teaching periods on the course was useful and provided a great way to learn and reflect collaboratively. In addition, both the clinical and academic requirements of the programme were supported by relevant teaching provided by leading experts in selected areas. I was supported through my clinical placements by a very skilled and experienced coordinating supervisor. By the end of the programme, I had developed a portfolio of clinical competency and had developed skills which continue to ground my professional and ethical practice.

The course commitment to advanced research ensured that I developed a high level of analytical and critical skills, as well as in-depth knowledge in my chosen area of specialism. Similar to my clinical placements, I was supported by two knowledgeable and skilled supervisors who provided reassurance and guidance throughout the process. The course requires high standards of its research component and meeting these, with the support of peers, experienced academic and clinical staff, ensures that Forensic Psychologists in Training have the potential to contribute to scientific literature in their chosen field. For instance, my supervisors and I have successfully published different chapters from my doctoral thesis for which in 2014, I received the Junior Award in Forensic Psychology from the British Psychological Society. I still regularly share ideas with both of my supervisors from the program and consider them professional colleagues.

I would recommend this programme to those who aspire to develop a high level of clinical competency and academic ability.

(Student Profile)

Jennifer Bamford

3421.jpg “At my MSc graduation I was speaking to a fellow graduate who told me about this “up and coming” course at Nottingham University that enabled you to become a Registered Forensic Psychologist as well as receive a Doctorate level award, recognising the skill and study involved in the process. This sounded too good to be true although after some internet digging I came across the Top-Up Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology at The University of Nottingham and the rest is history.

The course was the perfect combination of lectures/university based work and clinical placement work. The University helped Forensic Psychologists in Training to find placements but also gave us the freedom to find them ourselves. This was undoubtedly the biggest learning curve of my time in education yet; whilst dramatically improving my understanding and execution of clinical skills I also learnt how to complete empirical research fit for publication. I have since had a paper accepted for publication in a high ranking journal. My supervisors went above and beyond their roles, offering me invaluable advice and support and treating me as an equal, not someone subservient to them.

Shortly before I finished the course I had three very good job offers in different parts of the country and it was hard to decide where I wanted my career, and life, to go. I now work for one of the top 3 medical providers in the UK, being responsible for a forensic ward of female patients with personality disorder as well as a locked rehabilitation facility for male service users. Alongside my clinical work at the hospital I also complete private reports through my own company. The doctorate has equipped me with the skills, knowledge and confidence to take on a lot of responsibility and to progress far beyond even my own expectations professionally in a relatively short space of time. I highly recommend the programme and the core team of dedicated staff.”


Chevening Scholarships - 20+ Awards

Please visit the Chevening website for detailed information - http://www.chevening.org/

Value of Scholarship(s)

Variable subject to country of origin


To apply for a Chevening Scholarships you must have:a degree of a good standard
at least two years' work experience (including voluntary experience)
a high standard of English language
leadership and networking skills
commitment to work in your home country for at least two years after completing your masters degree

Application Procedure

Please visit the Chevening website for detailed information on applying - http://www.chevening.org/

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Master's degree in forensic/criminological/investigative psychology (stage 1) recognised by the BPS as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership, with a minimum grade of 60% (Merit) overall and 60% in their research project plus at least a 2.1 (or international equivalent); minimum of 100 days relevant forensic experience supervised by a chartered forensic psychologist; one clinical reference and one academic reference; DBS Check. English language requirements: IELTS 7.5 (no less than 7.0 in any element).

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Recipient: University of Nottingham
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